On Monday, Mujtaba Ahmad, who got a 79 percent aggregate score for medical school admission, got a phone call from the administration of a private college in Lahore.
Ahmad was told that his score entitled him to a place in medical school on merit, but he needed to hurry if he wanted to guarantee admission. “They said, ‘Deposit Rs750,000 and we will book your MBBS seat,” he told The Express Tribune.
But the call was confusing, as Ahmad hadn’t heard that the merit list was out. He contacted the University of Health Sciences, which controls the process of admissions to all public medical colleges, and they told him that admissions were not even open until October 30.
Ahmad isn’t the only student to have been contacted with such offers for seats at private medical colleges, with several making similar complaints to the UHS.
“A private college called me and told me to deposit my dues to guarantee my seat,” said Muhammad Nawaz, who has an aggregate score of 80.63 per cent. “I asked if I would get a refund if I got admission to a public college. They said I’d get back all the money except the Rs70,000 admission fee.”
According to the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) and UHS rules, private colleges cannot admit a student or even ask for a deposit before the publication of the merit list, which ranks students according to academic achievement. Private colleges are not allowed to start admissions before the UHS completes the process for public schools.
A UHS spokesman confirmed that they had received “dozens” of complaints. “It is totally illegal. We have made a committee to investigate and will take stern action against private schools which are booking seats before October 30. We advise students not to deposit their fees or any kind of dues to any private medical school before October 30. They cannot display any merit list before that and all admissions made before the publication of the merit list are illegal and can be cancelled,” the spokesman said.
There are a total of 3,205 seats (including MBBS and BDS) in Punjab’s public medical colleges and 2,200 seats in private colleges. Some 32,000 candidates sat the entry test for these seats.
The principal of a private medical school, which was one of the schools reported to the UHS, suggested that there had been misunderstandings. “We are not making any admissions, just asking students to submit their applications. We have to prioritise our candidates and so we are asking them to submit their particulars. If someone deposits a fee, it will be returned to him if he gets admission to a public sector medical college,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 6th, 2011.
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